APWU

Massive Cuts to Postal Service a Step Towards Privatization?

editors note:  VLTP continues to follow the assault on the USPS…We wrote about this USPS privatization effort in April 2012: http://www.vltp.net/alec/senat… and released a full investigative report about such privatization efforts and how Congress was influenced to pass the The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act to begin the process of privatization: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10What was not mentioned in this informative audio was membership in ALEC by UPS and FedEx and how ALEC lawmakers brought about the PAE Act in 2006.

Plan to restructure post office a big real estate play and boon to private courier companies

see the video at http://youtu.be/eOKY994hg5c

A proposal is currently being considered by the US Postal Service to sell its building in downtown Berkeley, CA and relocate its services. This is just one city that is feeling the impact of a crippling financial crisis currently affecting the Postal Service. In fiscal year 2012 it lost approximately 5.9 billion. And now thousands of buildings may be sold and thousands of workers laid off in what USPS says is an attempt to save itself, but critics argue is a step toward privatization.

It’s commonly understood that the internet and e-communication is causing the demise of USPS, but that’s not the full story. What seems to be the prime cause is actually a little-known law passed in 2006.

Susan Hammers, APWU: The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires prefunding of pensions 75 yrs into the future.

Augustine Ruiz, USPS: This is a huge burden on us and it’s unfair.

Gray Brechin, UC Berkeley faculty/activist: It seems as though it was designed to destroy the postal service. More →

Labor-Community Caravans Head to DC 6/28 to support Postal Community Hunger Strikers

Cars, buses and vans of labor and community activists will form a Caravan to Washington, DC, in the early hours of Thursday, June 28, to join a mushrooming national hunger strike to save postal services and jobs.

The nationally organized hunger strike was initiated by Community and Postal Workers United, spearheaded by postal workers in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Jersey and New York. (See CPWUnited.com.)

To read more about this important event for Postal Workers–and this affects union workers everywhere–please clickhere

Senate Passes USPS Reform Bill – Now Its Up To an ALEC Influenced House…

Senate Passes USPS Reform Bill – Now Its Up To an ALEC Influenced House…

By Bob Sloan


The Senate today voted to pass a bill to salvage the USPS – for now.  Critical to avoiding a proposed shut down of hundreds of postal facilities and centers with the loss of 200,000 jobs, the news was cautiously welcomed by VLTP.  While the House has yet to vote on similar legislation, sponsored by Rep. Issa, this is a step in the right direction.  A key part of the Senate bill would return $11 billion  of the funds the USPS has been forced to set aside (since Congress stipulated that provision in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act [HR 6407]) for employee retirement and health plans…and reduce the amount of future contributions to that account.

Some Background

As VLTP has been reporting for nearly a year, our research uncovered an attempt by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push for privatization of the USPS on behalf of two of their primary members and supporters, UPS and FedEx.  Congressional alumni and supporters of ALEC were instrumental in crafting and sponsoring the legislation that forced the USPS to “pay forward” retirement and health benefits covering 75 years…and to be accomplished in just a ten year window.  Sponsor of this legislation in the House was former Rep. Tom Davis (R VA).  His wife, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis was a Virginia Politician serving as a state Senator and a member of ALEC. Her political campaigns for Virginia‘s Senate was funded by husband Tom Davis and various Republican PACs including the former Majority Leader and ALEC Alumni Tom Delay through his ARMPAC.  Rep. Tom Davis received $211,333 during his public service from known ALEC members.

ALEC Alumni, Rep. John McHugh (R NY) first introduced Postal Reform legislation in 1996: (H.R. 3717).  Inexplicably – or perhaps due to great framing and a belief that McHugh genuinely wanted to help the USPS – he was heavily supported by USPS workers himself with campaign contributions totaling $272,800 from 5 USPS worker organizations. An additional $61,350 was contributed from UPS and FedEx.

Senate co-Sponsor of the 2006 legislation impacting the USPS was Susan Collins (R ME) who has ties to Koch money and is actively supporting Koch‘s EPA deregulation and environmental denial of climate change. In 2006 Collins received $166,138 in donations from; UPS ($22,168), Verizon, ($15,221), AT&T ($12,000), GlaxoSmithKline ($11,999), MBNA Corporation ($85,250)54 and Blue Cross and Blue Shield ($31,550) – all now known to be members of ALEC.  Because of the perception that Collins was working to help the USPS with the 2006 legislation, she received  $42,500 in contributions from postal workers. Over her career, Collins has so far received $510,993 from confirmed ALEC members.

Co-sponsor of the legislation to “save” the USPS in 2010 and again here in 2012, is Rep. Joe Lieberman. He received no funding from top ALEC corporate members in 2008 but that’s changed.  For 2012 – while not running for re-election – Lieberman received contributions from several corporate PAC’s and Committees who are also ALEC members, including; AT&T, Verizon, FedEx, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Comcast and Koch Industries.

As the Report published by VLTP and linked to above reveals, from the introduction of McHugh’s legislation in 1996 the conservative think tanks associated with ALEC have been publishing articles, statistics and reports calling for the privatization of the USPS, calling their services to the public a “monopoly”.  These “reports” and articles from; the Heritage Foundation, CATO, National Taxpayers Union and the Reason Foundation have a commonality beyond ALEC – they are all linked to the Koch brothers by ideology and funding.

Hopefully this background information helps you understand that key politicians involved in working to privatize the USPS has also been working to cause the collapse of the Postal Service.  By working both sides of the argument they have/are receiving huge sums of money as campaign contributions – from those supporting the USPS and those opposing them.  Additionally, an important aspect of this battle over mail service, is the fact that ALEC has 100 “Alumni” currently sitting in the U.S. Congress.

Under the foregoing circumstances the future of the USPS is in jeopardy to both the public as well as postal workers.  With UPS and FedEx seeking access to the first class mail and parcel post contracts worth billions of dollars annually, this battle is not going to simply cease.  With the assistance of ALEC, corporate funding, legislative members and alumni the USPS will not be “safe” for years to come…unless postal administrators take notice of the facts before them and work to eliminate ALEC and their influence in Congress.  If they don’t, much of their annual income and political efforts going forward will go to trying to forestall ALEC’s continued attempts at privatization.

Today’s news while heartening, is also dismaying as the Republicans are now “kicking the can down the road” much as they accuse President Obama’s administration of doing.  To understand the Senate bill and the provisions…

…Read the Christian Science Monitor story related to this news —> here

No easy fix for Postal Service woes

by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

In today’s Charlottte Observer, NC Senator Richard Burr, one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate had the following to say about the USPS:

While the future of the Postal Service is uncertain, what we do know is that comprehensive reform will be needed to address its many issues… Unfortunately, the situation facing the Postal Service is much more grave than that, and it might require a restructuring of the entire agency in order to save it from insolvency.

To read the rest of his opinions re the USPS, see an immediate faulty conclusion, and to see why the USPS is in mortal danger from conservatives in Congress, please click here:

Postal workers organize rallies to protest possible service, job cuts

CHARLOTTE – U.S. postal workers across the nation took to the streets on one of the busiest postal days of the year, to rally for support.

Members of the American Postal Workers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Unions want the public to know about possible changes to service. They said those changes would be detrimental to the customer.

“There is going to be a great loss of service to the public and they don’t realize it, they don’t know it,” said Cindy Foster with the Charlotte APWU.

To read the rest of this article and to watch the embedded video, please click here.

U.S. Postmaster General responds to claims that he is overpaid

The United States Postmaster General is standing by his salary, despite ongoing hardships for the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has criticized the Postmaster for accepting an $800,000 compensation package while many rural post offices face closure.

The Postmaster was in Helena recently to talk about the agency’s budget and addressed the allegations.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said, “People can have opinions on that. From a stand point of my salary, I make about four times what a letter carrier would make. If you would compare that to any other organization in this United States: CEO pay to the front line, very few places is it anywhere near four to one.”

To read the rest of this article and to watch the embedded video, please click here.

Also, please participate in our USPS Forum where you can discuss this article or any other subject relevant to the USPS.

Occupying Duke Energy

March 31, 2012:

Today a number of groups concerned with the way Duke Energy continues to pollute our planet, protested at ALEC member Duke Energy’s Offices at 550 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC  28202 (in case you feel compelled to send Jim Rogers a written message).  It was truly inspiring to be with a group of distinct organizations working together toward a common goal.

This post will try to share today’s events with you.  As the speeches given by many today are not on the web, we will print each of them in subsequent posts.

The Event was co-Sponsored by:
350.org
, Occupy Charlotte,
Action NC, Canary Coalition,
Clean Air Carolina, DemocracyNC,
Green Party-Charlotte Chapter,
Greenpeace USA,
NAACP-Charlotte Chapter,
NC WARN, SAFE Carolinas, & More!

To read more of this article about the Occupation of Duke Energy, please click here